Town of Halifax, Vermont

May 7, 2013

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 6:31 PM.  Board members in attendance were Lewis Sumner, Edee Edwards and Earl Holtz.  Others in attendance were Margo Avakian, Brad Rafus, Ray Combs, and Jessica Bruno.

Approval of Minutes

Holtz moved to accept the minutes of the April 16, 2013 regular meeting as written.  Edwards amended the motion to include a correction on page 4.
The motion as amended carried 2-0-1 (Sumner abstained), and the minutes were approved.

Edwards moved to accept the minutes of the April 24, 2013 special meeting with a correction on page 3. Holtz seconded the motion.
The motion carried 3-0-0, and the minutes were approved.

Sumner moved to accept the minutes of the April 12, 2013 special meeting as written.  Holtz seconded the motion.
The motion carried 3-0-0, and the minutes were approved. 

New Business

Halifax School Lease

Sumner made a motion to sign the lease agreement with the Halifax Town School District for two years at $10k each year. Edwards seconded the motion which passed 3-0-0.

It was noted that work orders will be prepared for maintenance and the Selectboard shall provide estimates. If there is a variation from the estimate, we will need approval.

Town Website Updates/Procedures

Edwards would like to encourage town departments to post useful information on the website. We need to come up with a procedural mechanism to get notices on the website. The group briefly discussed where notices should be posted (home page) and departmental pages.

Edwards would like the broadband committee to provide clarification on the procedure for department heads who wish to post something on the website (dept head should write it, does it need Selectboard approval? Who is the contact?). The Selectbaord will then write a letter to the department heads outlining the procedure and encouraging them to use the town website as a communication vehicle.

Town Auditors- Explanation of Invoice Acceptance

Deferred to the next meeting.

Prepare Request for Bids

The group had a discussion about purchase orders and RFQ’s in Quickbooks. The Selectboard thought it might be useful for Dow, Bruno, Rafus and Tamburrino to meet to discuss and implement a procedure.

Edwards explained that the Selectboard had previously discussed streamlining the process for the bids in order to save on time/advertising etc. Doing all the bids at one time does leave us vulnerable if we have an unanticipated financial hit. The Selectboard discussed grouping some of the bids together.

Edwards made a motion to put out a request for bid for Guardrails, Heating and Diesel Fuel, Road Paving, Roadside Mowing, and Chloride. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Bids shall be opened at the 6/4/13 Regular meeting.

Hearing of Visitors

Rafus explained that he had spoken to our gravel vendor about deferring the final portion of gravel to next fiscal year. The vendor explained that he has 400-500 yards that he would like to deliver now as it’s in the way of his crusher. Rafus believes it will cost about $5-6k and would like to know if he should go ahead and receive delivery of the 400-500 yards.

The Selectboard moved to the next topic of Budget Review so that they could discuss upcoming expenses before giving Rafus a decision.

Combs inquired about the line coming up Reed Hill. Holtz explained that it is the fiber line that is coming to the school, firehouse and town office.

Old Business

Budget Review

The Selectboard reviewed the third quarter report from the town treasurer. Edwards prepared a spreadsheet comparing the Selectboard and Highway budget to actual expenditures to date. The group discussed upcoming expenses and the possible deferral of some larger items such as gravel and re-surfacing. Edwards led a discussion on managing expenses more tightly.

Rafus added that he would like to go over the maintenance budget. As they are spreading out equipment too far, they are spending a lot of money on maintenance of old trucks.

Edwards would like Cold River to get their invoice in and approved from SVE by the end of the fiscal year. She would like Holden Engineering to send their bill in as well.

The Selectboard agreed to receive and pay for the 400-500 yards of gravel now and inform the vendor that we may want additional gravel before the end of the fiscal year.

Irene Update 

Holtz reported that the Hale Road pre-construction visit has been scheduled for 5/21/13 at 8:30am. Rafus expressed that the road crew has a re-certification class at 9am, so Holtz will inquire if the meeting can be rescheduled.

Sumner reported that the Deer Park Bridge has been blacktopped. Rafus inquired of who has responsibility of the temporary bridge. Sumner explained that we contracted with the State and it’s their responsibility to remove it. Rafus also inquired who will be finishing the 40ft of guardrails? Sumner believed that it is in Cold River’s contract to finish the guardrails. Rafus would like clarification as the foreman expressed that they are only bringing the guardrails up to the temporary bridge and the rest is the town’s responsibility. Sumner will follow up with SVE for clarification.

Old County North Bridge Project Extension and Overruns

Edwards explained that we received an amendment from District 2 for the bridge grant up to the $175k maximum. As the bridge will cost more than that, the town will be responsible for the difference plus its $17,500 share. The state also extended the design work to $64k and agreed to the term extension of 1 year.

Edwards made a motion to sign the agreement to amend the bridge structures and engineering on the Old County North Bridge for a term extension of 1 year to 6/30/14 and to modify the amounts to $175k for the bridge grant and $64k for design work. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Access During Selectboard Meetings for Executive Sessions/ ADA Compliance

Edwards spoke to Martynowski regarding the listers office that the Selectboard uses on occasion for executive sessions. Martynowski said that if she is made aware of an executive session, she will make sure a key is available to the office.

Everett Wilson was put in touch with the school regarding ADA compliance. Sumner has a key is someone needs the ramp during a Selectboard meeting, but if there are other meetings and the ramp is required, or if Sumner is not available, we need a backup plan.

Extra Phone Line in Town Office

The listers called Fairpoint and got pricing for an extra phone line of $25/mo. Installation of the phone line is $120 for the first ½ hr and $55/hr after that.

Sumner made a motion to install a second phone line in the town office. Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

DVR Ambulance Agreement

The Selectboard did not receive the agreement from Deerfield Valley Rescue yet. DVR was going to have a meeting and sign the agreement on 5/6 so they will wait to hear from them.

Sign RERP Cover Sheet

Edwards has not had a chance to review the paperwork, so this item was deferred until their next meeting.

Selectboard Meeting and Responsibility Management

Edwards would like to adopt the VLCT rules of procedure for managing meetings including setting a time next to agenda items. Following the VLCT Selectboard Institute meeting recommendations, she would also like to consider designating people to be the primary contact/ liaison with different departments. The Selectboard agreed on the following designations:

Sumner- Highway
Edwards- Planning/Zoning Boards
Holtz- Finance, Broadband Committee, Website

Other Business

Holtz reported that DSL in the town office is going well. The Selectboard should suggest to Dow that she terminate HughesNet when she is comfortable.

Holtz reported that Mark Gunkle will be moving out of town, so we may need to reappoint Zoning Board, Planning Board and Tree Warden positions. Sumner expressed that we need a written resignation.

Edwards reported that many people on the unlicensed dog list, that we had sent a letter to earlier in the year, did comply.

Tour de Heifer Race- Edwards replied to the organizers that the town crew did think they would be done with grading before the race. She also added that the race date was incorrect in the original letter sent to the Selectboard, so the town website has been updated with the new date.

Bruno will draft letters to the Windham County Humane Society and to Ms. Goodnow regarding the invoice received from WCHS in January for euthanasia of a dog as discussed at previous meetings.


The mail was reviewed and appropriately filed.

Selectmen’s Order to Town Treasurer for bill payment

The order for payment of bills was completed and signed.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:23 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Jessica Bruno
Selectboard Secretary